23-27 JUNE


Dramaturgies of Collecting:
Conserving, Restaging, and Interpreting the Performing Arts

The performing arts document the stories of our times, and people are never short of stories. The never-ending artistic creations in the performing arts have opened up more possibilities in different disciplines, enhanced by the development of technology and the unpredictable potential of artificial intelligence, pushing the imagination beyond its limits.

This is a unique moment for the performing arts. Artists, academics, professionals, practitioners and enthusiasts in the performing arts, as well as librarians, archivists, collectors and curators are facing various challenges in preserving and presenting the rich tapestry of performing arts and its (future) history.

The “dramaturgies” of collecting, understood as strategies of selecting, curating, showcasing and representing, reveal the vision of preserving our performing arts for the future. They are multifaceted and involve careful, strategic and also creative curation, preservation and presentation of materials that reflect the richness and diversity of the performing arts and their cultural significance.

Responding to the transformative ecology of the performing arts and the complicity of social dynamics, the dramaturgical approach shapes the ways in which performing art documentations and collections can be renewed, recycled and given new life, generating new perspectives and interpretations and providing a platform for meeting new audiences.

The 34th Conference of the International Association of Libraries, Museums, Archives, and Documentation Centres of the Performing Arts (SIBMAS) will be held in Asia for the first time in 2024. Hosted by the Hong Kong chapter of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC(HK)) in collaboration with The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library, with the support of Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, this conference coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of SIBMAS in 1954. It also serves as one of the commemorative events for the 30th anniversary of the founding of the IATC(HK).

We invite researchers and practitioners to submit proposals of panels, papers and poster sessions that delve into the intricate and dynamic processes of collecting, conserving, restaging, reimagining, and interpreting the performing arts in the context of libraries, archives, and museums of performing arts as well as from artists, curators, and performing arts companies.

The conference theme, “Dramaturgies of Collecting”, will serve as our agenda for discussing:

  • Performing Arts Collections
    Exploring the challenges and opportunities of building and expanding performing arts collections, including acquisitions, provenance research, and collaboration with donors.
  • Conserving the Performing Arts
    Examining conservation practices specific to performing arts materials, including costumes, props, set designs, sound recordings, and audiovisual archives and reviewing the challenges of representing interactive and online performances.
  • Interpreting through Exhibition
    Showcasing innovative and immersive exhibition techniques that highlight the dramaturgical aspects of performing arts collections.
  • Restaging Performances
    Analysing the methodologies and considerations involved in restaging historical performances using performing arts resources and documentation.
  • Digitisation and Accessibility
    Discussing digitisation projects and emerging technologies that increase the accessibility of performing arts collections to a wider audience.
  • Oral Histories of Performance
    Exploring the use of oral history interviews and testimonies in preserving and interpreting performing arts traditions.
  • Collaborations and Partnerships
    Sharing inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaborations between librarians, archivists, curators and performing arts organisations, and community stakeholders in preserving performing arts heritage.
  • Pedagogy and Outreach
    Presenting educational programmes and outreach initiatives that utilise collections to enrich performing arts education.
  • Challenges in Curation
    Addressing the ethical dilemmas, faced by artists, librarians, archives, and museum professionals in curating performing arts collections.
  • Post-Pandemic Challenges
    The impact of the pandemic on the development of libraries, museums, and documentation centres in the performing arts.
  • Policy and Resources
    Sharing how policy, cultural resources, economic factors and environmental issues related to the strategies for preserving performing arts heritage.

We would be delighted to welcome you to Hong Kong – the Heart of Asia – to participate in this international exchange on preserving the performing arts!